Brexit has had a big impact on the UK and its trading partners. For those it effects, it feels as though it has been going on for quite some time and for those living in the UK, there has been much confusion around how it will affect imports and how as consumers, we can access the brands and products we desire most.
This post will look at the UK import industry in more detail, from who the biggest importers are to the potential future opportunities.
According to research carried out by Freightline Carriers, the top three importers to the UK pre-Brexit were Germany, China and the United States. Below we will look at these deals in a little more detail and how they may look in the future.
Germany have historically been at the top of the list for UK imports, generally due to the automotive industry. In fact, from Nov’ 2019 to Nov’ 2020, £30,875.83 million worth of goods was imported from Germany to the UK. When looking at the data for 2020 from January to June, Germany actually fell into second place with the United States overtaking.
From Nov’ 2019 to Nov’ 2020, China was the second largest UK importer, importing £22,953.33 million worth of goods. This is a huge increase and may indicate a potentially blossoming relationship as China was in fifth place during the first half of 2020.
Interestingly, the United States was the third largest trading partner for the UK from Nov’ 2019 to Nov’ 2020, importing £16,056.82 million worth of goods. A post-Brexit trade deal is currently ongoing, so we will have to wait and see just how much we can expect from the US in imports.
Considering deals have already been made with other countries including Central America, it may come as a surprise that one has not already been made with the United States.
The Future of UK’s Importer Trade Deals
Free Trade Deals are really what the UK needs. This means that goods and services should be cheaper to trade due to eliminating tariffs and taxes and quotas – although, the details can differ on occasion.
Currently, the UK still falls under a free trade deal with the EU but due to a difference in regulations, paperwork and product checks, this makes the trading process longer.
When considering trade deals outside of the EU, we found that the UK currently has deals with 63 out of the 70 countries the EU have trade deals with. When looking at the future, it seems as though Japan and the Asia and Pacific Nations may look to overtake many EU countries as leading UK importers.
In October 2020, the UK made a trade deal with Japan which equates to 2% of the UK’s total trade. The UK has also applied for a Free Trade Deal with Asia and Pacific Nations – although, we do not currently know the outcome of this application, we can say it’s approval would change things.
Other current conversations are with the United States, Australia and New Zealand, the details for these potential deals are not fully known but again would affect the UK’s trading landscape considerably.